It takes just 25 minutes for Marcie Dodd to transform from a fresh-faced California native into Elphaba, the bright green Wicked Witch of the West.
"Some characters are a little harder to get into because you don't have the skin of the character and sometimes you have to tap in deeper," Dodd says. "Obviously, you look in the mirror here and you're like, 'There's Elphaba,' "
Dodd has been with "Wicked" for three years and she now turns green eight times a week. The show ends a nearly three-week stay in Wichita on Sunday.
The transformation process for Dodd begins in her dressing room one hour before the curtain opens each night.
The show's makeup supervisor, Joyce McGilberry, paints the green-tinted makeup onto Dodd's face, neckline, ears, hands and slightly up her arms. Her nails are painted with green polish, and she wears a bodysuit that covers the areas the makeup doesn't.
After the makeup is applied, McGilberry sprays a fixer to keep the makeup in place. She waits in the wings during the show to do touch-ups and some of the other characters get a little green, too, when Dodd brushes by them.
While every visible square inch of skin is turning green in her dressing room, Dodd sips fluids and honey to keep her voice hydrated. A humidifier and an Etta James tune hum quietly in the background. On the floor is Dodd's dog Divo, who is getting his belly rubbed by one of his admirers. Seven dogs and one cat travel with the cast members.
Dodd showers after every show and uses a natural peppermint soap to scrub off the makeup. She says she kind of enjoys the anonymity her green exterior brings to her while away from the theater.
"I'm a pretty private person, and I'm kind of shy," she said. "Some people will see the green in my ears, and I'll get stopped in the grocery store."
Dodd says most people can relate to the character.
"Everybody has that element that makes everyone different,'' she said. "Hers is just really obvious."